By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: EduSentro

The Philippines remains the “only country” in Southeast Asia that has yet to implement face-to-face learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Thursday.

During the Palace press briefing, Briones mentioned that the country is the only one that continues to implement home-based learning modalities as of this moment.

“Tayo na lang ang naiiwan, for example sa Southeast Asia, na di pa bumalik sa face-to-face dahil nga ang nangyari, paglabas ng UK variant, nag-worry ang ating Presidente para sa mga bata sa eskwelahan (We are the only one, for example in Southeast Asia, that has yet to resume face-to-face because what happened was, with the UK variant, the President worried about sending the children back to schools),” Briones said.

Briones shared that the face-to-face classes in other countries are contextualized. “It depends on their current situation,” she said in Filipino. Many countries are gradually opening their schools. “These are limited, not pure face-to-face, depending on the respective situation,” she added.  

In December, Briones said that DepEd already proposed to the President to allow the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas. The said pilot testing was originally scheduled in January. However, the President recalled his decision with the threat of the COVID-19 UK variant.

While DepEd is still waiting for the approval from the President, Briones said that “we are getting ready because he may soon lift the deferment of this pilot study.”

Briones explained that DepEd conducted a nationwide survey on the possible resumption of face-to-face classes. “We wanted to find out which schools were ready for the pilot testing and there were more than 1,000 schools out of 61,000 that were ready for contextualized face-to-face classes,” she added.

Ending the matter, Briones said the DepEd will recommend policies to the President for the possible face-to-face learning resumption.

“We will give him at least four policy choices because it is his decision whether to allow or not the resumption of limited face-to-face classes,” she ended.

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